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In the tradition of the Neues Sehen (New Vision), which extended photography from a purely reproductive to an artistic medium, I create experimental and inventive photographs with compositional freedom. When I use photography as a medium, I facilitate seeing in a different way. My photography allows discovery of what would remain hidden without a camera, even that which would not exist without the camera. Attentiveness and a sense of experimentation permit a play with structures, colors, movement, light and shadow. Graphic compositions interweave with dynamic motion and atmospheric depth, surprising perspectives, and a sense of the moment.

A free and experimental style characterizes the work. I pursue a variety of methods of image creation. Some are spontaneously discovered and captured immediately. The camera also serves to focus me. I use it as a means of sharpening my own view and thereby allowing motives to develop. Finally, by intentional camera movement during exposure I create images with their own special effect. Rotation, direction, intensity and speed of the camera’s movement all have a significant influence on the composition. The resulting images can be portraits of the motifs as well as abstraction. The images invite the viewer to experience a new way of looking.

Travel provides the element of discovery; I travel to remote locations or to remote aspects of familiar locations. I can take a visual trip in front of my own doorstep or to the next café because there is so much unknown to discover in the seemingly known. When I use photography, familiar objects reveal structures and details, cast shadows, and create reflections. My process is to approach my surroundings with mindful perception, receptive to what objects have to say and what may be revealed in the moment.

Paul Klee: “Art does not reproduce the visible, it makes visible.”

Seeing and making visible - the levels of the pictorial process:

Attentiveness Unique encounters with the subject arise when I am open to receive them. The camera provides a way to discover views hidden from common vision, because the portion in the viewfinder frames its own special composition, with an emphasis on surface, structure, color, and the solidification of motion. The camera reveals something that would not exist without the viewfinder - without this specific way of seeing which is created at the moment of seeing it. Spontaneous discovery is possible, but sometimes the subject requires longer exploration until it reveals something surprising. When I capture exactly this aspect, I feel a moment of joy. Photographing develops a rousing momentum; in a very short time I may create hundreds of photos. Ever-new compositions are possible, sometimes taken from almost the same position, a flow that repeatedly surprises me in its abundance - born of active attentiveness.

Transformation The individual vision materializes the image. In the world of nature, life arises from existing matter and energy, and yet something emerges that goes beyond what was previously there. So it is with the picture. It transforms matter, light, space and time in a unique constellation that produces something new.

Encounters Photographs as pictures of light want to come “to light”, to show themselves and interact with the viewer. At this communicative level, surprising moments occur which alter ordinary perception and are thus imbued with a quality of being alive.

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© Milena Kühnau 2014